The Junkers Ju 88 was a World War II German Luftwaffe twin-engine, multi-role aircraft. Designed by Hugo Junkers' company in the mid-1930s, it suffered from a number of technical problems during the later stages of its development and early operational roles, but became one of the most versatile combat aircraft of the war. Affectionately known as "The Maid of all Work" (a feminine version of "jack of all trades"), the Ju 88 proved to be suited to almost any role. Like a number of other Luftwaffe bombers, it was used successfully as a bomber, dive bomber, night fighter, torpedo bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, heavy fighter, and even as a flying bomb during the closing stages of conflict.
Despite its protracted development, the aircraft became one of the Luftwaffe's most important assets. The assembly line ran constantly from 1936 to 1945, and more than 16,000 Ju 88s were built in dozens of variants, more than any other twin-engine German aircraft of the period. Throughout the production, the basic structure of the aircraft remained unchanged, proof of the outstanding quality of the original design.
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As Described In
Their Finest Hour: The Ju 88A-1 was the first of these models to be widely produced, and featured underwing dive brakes that enabled it to be used as a dive bomber. It was faster, stronger, more maneuverable, and could fly farther than any other Luftwaffe medium bomber. In the Battle of Britain, the Ju 88A-1 initially enjoyed success attacking RAF airfields. But as the Battle progressed, the Ju 88A-1, like the other Luftwaffe bombers, proved vulnerable to the RAF fighters, though crews had a better chance of getting back to their bases in this excellent aircraft than in the others.